Dear Mayor… Letters from Chicago Youth

Mikva Challenge (via Huffington Post) | January 31, 2011


Shawn Shaw watches his back now on his walk to and from Tilden Career Community Academy, the massive South Side high school that backs onto a Norfolk Southern rail depot in Chicago’s New City neighborhood. The 18-year-old student got jumped on this walk once by a handful of gang members — now, it’s hard for him to feel safe.

And he wants the city’s next mayor to hear about it.

“My issue for the new mayor to focus on in the first 100 days is unsafe communities,” he says in a recorded video message for whoever wins the contentious mayoral race. “This so-called ‘code of silence’ we have is killing off our youth, and we’re the innocent ones getting hurt.”

Shawn is one of hundreds of city high schoolers — from schools rich and poor, in neighborhoods affluent and afflicted — that have sent messages to the future mayor advocating for an issue that matters to them. Public safety, after-school programs, jobs, education reform, and sexual health have all proven popular subjects.

January 24, 2011 – January 30, 2011

Teens walk in hopes of stopping violence
Staff Writer, WLOX News, January 30 2011

Death penalty sends negative message to youth
Staff Writer, The Catholic Sentinel, January 29, 2011

Pa. School Defends Separating Blacks for Homeroom
Dana Chivvis, AOL News, January 28, 2011

Pennsylvania school experiments with ‘segregation’
Monika Plocienniczak, CNN, January 27, 2011

Massachusetts Invests $4.4 Million To Fight Youth Violence
Gov Monitor, Staff Writer, January 26, 2011

Black Youth Growing Up in the New South Africa Will Be “the First to Turn on the ANC”
Staff Writer, HSRC Press, January 26, 2011

Youth Empowered Action Camp Combines Activism and Camp
Staff Writer, Olive Branch, January 26, 2011

An anti-bullying law must protect every student
Emily Dievendorf, Detroit Free Press, January 26, 2011

Youth Connection Charter School Gives Lessons in Civics
Staff Writer, PR News Wire, January 26, 2011

Two Dynamic Black Educators Train Teachers To Help Black Students Excel
Chike Akua, Black News, January 25, 2011

Education: Shocking reality
Staff Writer, The Florida Times-Union, January 25, 2011

The (mis)education of the black child
Sandile Mamelang, Mail and Guardian, January 25, 2011

Teaching youth to Focus on the Positive for Success Through Martial Arts
Abby Sternberg, Annandale Patch, January 25, 2011

200,000 homeless youth in California
Staff Writer, Onland News Today, January 25, 2011

Violent acts desensitize youth to what’s right
Heide Freed, St. Augustine News, January 25, 2011

Action needed for black students
Trudy Simpson, Voice Online, January 24, 2011

Black students still being suppressed
Zwelinzima Vavi, Politics Web News, January 24, 2011

Minority group says time not right to end desegregation
Bayne Hughes, Decatur Daily, January 24, 2011

Young blacks’ challenges aren’t insurmountable
Dwight Lewis, The Tenessean, January 24, 2011

#BarackTalk & The World Listened

Hip-hop Responds To Obama’s State Of The Union
by Paradise Gray

Dee -1 & Jasiri X Speak at the State of the Union: Roadmap to Progress

On January 25th, President Obama gave a stirring State of the Union Address. The Hip-hop Generation responded by organizing Roadmap to Progress AKA #BarackTalk, sponsored and presented by The League Of Young Voters, and

The results was a powerful conversation by a room full of diverse and intelligent people, representing Hip-hop, Politics, The Green Movement, The Economy, Gay & Lesbian rights, Immigration, Civil Rights, and many other issues, which were raised before and after President Obama’s incredible speech.

A (Friendly) Reminder

Antoine Dodson’s fifteen minutes are not over yet.  Last week, I learned (via Twitter, duh), that Dodson, who became (internet) famous when his rant to the local news was remixed by The Gregory Brothers into “The Bed Intruder Song,” has already begun filming a reality show based upon his move from the Alabama projects to West Hollywood (of course).  This should make for good television, as Dodson is charming (in both the southern and gay sense), has enough (gay) slang to keep the allegedly hetero masses tuning in weekly for lessons, and looks fierce in a pair of women’s jeans.

T.G.I.T.T.B. (Thank God It's The Token Blacky)

What’s scarier than a racist that calls out “nigger” or “coon” viciously? The racist who’s night you save by being the “token blacky”. I pose two disappointments for the eager audience at a non-black party: no weed and no freestyle. Still I manage to be the life of the party, dougieing on every song, judging rap skills, and—check this out—having big lips. Although I get a lot more love at these parties, I can’t help but realize how socially destructive they are. What’s really under all this amusement is a non-black majority (usually White) taking delight in my abnormality.

Black Fraternity Comes Out in Force for Their Undocumented Brother

Black Fraternity Comes Out in Force for Their Undocumented Brother
Channing Kennedy , Colorlines| January 28, 2011

Yesterday at the Center for American Progress, Sam Fulwood III introduced us to an young immigrant’s story that’s all too familiar, but with a ray of hope. Mario Perez is a 22-year-old college student in Nacogdoches, Texas, who came to the United States with his family as a five-year-old, and who didn’t find out about his own undocumented status until he was a high school senior. Engaged to his girlfriend and on his way to engineering grad school, Mario’s world came crashing down with a single routine police stop in December of last year. The difference between Mario and any other undocumented college kid? He turned to his fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha — the nation’s oldest black Greek-letter fraternity.

Alpha Phi Alpha doesn’t play any zero-sum games with racial equality; in addition to rallying for the DREAM Act, the fraternity also moved their summer convention from Arizona to Nevada in the wake of SB 1070. As Fulwood, an Alpha Phi Alpha alumn who learned about the story through Facebook appeals from the national office, writes:  (Read more)

Lil Wayne Announces I Am Music II Tour; Nicki Minaj to Co-Headline

Just two months out of Rikers Island, it looks like Weezy is resuming his duties as the best rapper alive in a very big way.

First came the release of the relentless (and awesome), Bangladesh-produced “6’7′,” as well as an amazing performance of the track with Eminem on Saturday Night Live late last year. And now, earlier this week, the I Am Music II Tour was announced, reportedly to coincide with the release of Wayne’s highly anticipated Tha Carter IV album.

The latest black example: Kelley Williams-Bolar

I grew up in Chicago with a mom that was overzealous about education.  By the time I was twelve, I’d gone to seven different schools.  I went to one school for Kindergarten, two schools for first grade, I was home-schooled halfway through second grade and then started at a new school where I stayed for three years before I transferred to another school for sixth grade because they had ABC (A Better Chance Program) that helped inner-city kids into boarding schools.  Then I transferred to a gifted program for 7th and 8th grade while completing my applications for boarding school only to get in and not have enough money, so I stayed at Morgan Park High School.  So, the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the mom jailed for falsifying records to get her daughters into a better school hits close to home for me.  In fact, I wished my mom had done the same thing.  Thus while Williams-Bolar is being used as an example of the various ways individuals can commit fraud, she is also quickly becoming a martyr for inner-city parents seeking immediate solutions to sub-par educational institutions.  Bravo.

In Williams-Bolar’s case, she used the address of her ex-husband (the father of her children) to gain access to a more prestigious school and was therefore charged with defrauding the school of more than $30,000 in funds.  So what!  I’m not at all sympathetic to the state in this situation even though rules are rules.  It seems to me, if Rahm can hold down residence in Chicago while he works a job in Washington (which I think is fair, by the way), then this woman can use her kid’s father’s home to establish residency for her children, even if they don’t really live there.  Doesn’t he pay taxes and vote in that school’s district?

The Problem with Social Mobility

BBC recently started a survey to answer the question: Does class still matter? Of course, the answer should be a resounding hell yes. But the question runs deeper than that. How does class affect us? What does it mean to be upwardly mobile? Is upward mobility good? Is a meritocracy ideal?

We are inclined to believe that a meritocracy is best and that upward mobility is beneficial. A society where one is rewarded based on their hard work and skill rather than birth status seems to be ideal but is it really?